Gaetano Pesce

Anne Konopelski meets Gaetano Pesce, a shining design star of the 1960s who believes emotion should be more prevalent in contemporary craft

The ‘sensuality and joy’ that everyday objects elicit turns out to be another hot topic. ‘Design is no longer just a question of form,’ he suggests. ‘The goal is to give people feelings. We need objects with a practical life, yes, but with an emotional life as well.

‘We should be asking, “Does this table keep me company?” Is it saying, “You are not alone?” Objects have to be more present in our lives. They should talk to all of our senses, not just vision. They should tell us something and make us remember a time in our lives.’

So what’s next for Pesce? Will he preach his views to the masses? Perhaps undertake more commissions for B&B Italia? ‘That’s not how it goes,’ he laughs. ‘The last time I worked with the company was 35 years ago. When I have an idea, then I will call and say, “Come.”‘

Besides, Pesce has been working on other projects; he mentions an apartment in New York that he recently designed, plus a restaurant in Florence. Other than that, the Nobody’s Perfect range and research are keeping him busy.

He won’t talk about future plans, but he does confess that he’d like to revisit his whimsical, skyline-inspired Sunset in New York sofa. But wouldn’t that qualify as a ‘redesign’, something to which Pesce has just strenuously objected?

Perhaps redesign is all right when it’s your own work – and when you just happen to be Gaetano Pesce.

Gaetano Pesce’s CV

1939 Born in La Spezia, Italy

1959-1965 University of Venice, Faculty of Architecture

1969 Up series of chairs (C&B Italia)

1980 Sit Down chair (Cassina)

1980 Sansone table and Delila chairs, Sunset in New York sofa (all Cassina)

1990 Organic Building, Osaka, Japan

1993 Awarded the Chrysler Award for Innovation and Design

1994 Gallery Mourmans, Knokke-le-Zoute, Belgium

1994 TWBA/Chiat Day office, New York

1996 Career retrospective at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France

2002 Nobody’s Perfect range (Zerodisegno)

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